China lists 420 species as rare or endangered, including the
panda, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins, some or
all of which are threatened by illegal hunting, environmental
destruction and the consumption of animal parts, including for
supposedly medicinal reasons.
Consumption of rare animals has risen as the country has become
richer, with some people believing spending thousands of yuan on
eating them gives a certain social cache.
"Eating rare wild animals is not only bad social conduct but
also a main reason why illegal hunting has not been stopped
despite repeated crackdowns," Lang Sheng, deputy head of
parliament's Legislative Affairs Commission said, the official
Xinhua news agency reported late on Thursday.
The new interpretation "clears up ambiguities about buyers of
prey of illegal hunting", the report added.
Knowingly buying any wild animals killed by illegal hunting will
now be considered a crime, with a maximum penalty of three years
in jail, Xinhua said.
"In fact, buyers are a major motivator of large-scale illegal
hunting," Lang said.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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